DiscoverTalk the Talk - a podcast about linguistics, the science of language.
Talk the Talk - a podcast about linguistics, the science of language.

Talk the Talk - a podcast about linguistics, the science of language.

Author: Daniel Midgley, Ben Ainslie, and Hedvig Skirgård

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A show about linguistics, the science of language, on RTRFM 92.1 community radio, Perth.
120 Episodes
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Just about every week, we bring you the Words of the Week. Which word from 2019 will listeners vote to make Talk the Talk's Word of the Year? And which words did we miss?
389: Mailbag of Pronouns

389: Mailbag of Pronouns

2019-12-0400:54:38

Again we open the Mailbag and answer our listeners' questions. What do lisps sound like in languages without the 'th' sound? How do gender-neutral terms work in languages with gendered pronouns? Do languages get more efficient over time? 'One-third' looks like 'three', so why doesn't 'half' look like 'two'? Does any poetic meter mimic the "natural rhythm" of human speech? How do children acquire humour? All on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Can you tell when someone is lying? You may think you have a sense about this, but the answers may surprise you. We're talking to forensic linguist Professor Georgina Heydon on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Language and culture are tightly bound. Or are they? Many speakers of the Australian language Dalabon are shifting to Kriol. But the two languages function in very different ways. Will speakers be able to translate relevant concepts over, despite linguistic differences? We're talking to Dr Maïa Ponsonnet on this episode of Talk the Talk.
If you speak a language besides English, you know that there are some idioms that English is missing, or just doesn't do as well. We want to hear them on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Artificial intelligence is everywhere, and that freaks some people out. But the real problem is that AIs may not be smart enough. Whether you're concerned about the future of human/computer interaction, or you just want a fun description of machine learning algorithms, there's a new book you should read. We're talking with author Janelle Shane on this episode of Talk the Talk.
384: Mailbag of Welcome

384: Mailbag of Welcome

2019-10-3000:55:29

Welcome to our mailbag, where all the really great questions come from. - Why do we say "You're welcome"? - How can 'varelse' mean 'a being' in Swedish, but 'a room' in Danish? - In sci-fi, what happens when the universal translator breaks? - Is there any reason to study conlangs? - How can you overcome problems with finding the right word? - Is the word 'datatainment' for real? All will be answered on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Communities need language. But a lot of the documentation is locked up in the archives. So now linguists are teaming up with community researchers to demystify linguistic research, so that community researchers can take this work to their communities to help them speak the language. Emma Murphy of Living Languages and community researcher Caroline Hughes are talking to Daniel, Hedvig, and Ben on this episode of Talk the Talk.
We hear what we expect to hear. That's a problem in court, where covert audio recordings are often unclear. Who decides what goes into the transcript that lawyers, judges, and juries will see? We're talking to Dr Helen Fraser about forensic transcription on this episode of Talk the Talk.
What words do you constantly misspell? Are there any that make you stop and think every time you type them? We put out the call to our listeners for spelling bugbears, and we were inundated with responses. So we turned it into a top ten list. Along the way, we ask: why are these words so difficult? And are there any tips to help you spell them correctly? We try to help on this episode of Talk the Talk.
For this episode, we want to hear about the emoji usages or combinations that are unique to you and your social network. We'll unearth new patterns, or at least shine a light on the variability of digital communication. We're taking your comments live on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Indigenous languages matter. They're part of Australia's cultural heritage, and they're a way for Aboriginal people to communicate, and connect. This includes Indigenous signed languages. In the push to recognise minority languages, Indigenous signed languages deserve some attention of their own. Signed language researcher Rodney Adams is telling us all about these languages on this episode of Talk the Talk.
You might do nothing. You might do zilch. But if you do bugger all, you're really doing the minimum. But wait — how did the phrase bugger all become a negative, in the complete absence of any negative words? There are larger forces at work here, and Dr Isabelle Burke joins us to explain them on this episode of Talk the Talk.
The mail keeps coming, and we keep answering. Is English really a dialect of Chinese? Why do people say “uncomfortableness”, when we already have “discomfort”? Are "ankh” and “anchor” related? How does learning traditional languages help communities? Is there a better Noongar word for “white fella” if you’re not a fellow Is “mire” one syllable or two? Why do people say they're “finna” do something? Where does the word “Carlton" come from? And listeners report back on “yeah no” in other languages. All this and more on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Talking to mathematical biologist Xia Hua about why some places are more linguistically diverse, and how this relates to biological diversity. News: Variation in individual vocal tracts may influence vowels over generations. Indigenous Australian Word of the Week: wominjeka "welcome", from Boon Wurrung (Victoria) Words of the Week: prorogation, bedbug, literally.
Why are some languages more systematic than others? We often hear about the irregularities in English, and other languages have them as well. But new work shows that systematicity in a language is influenced by the number of speakers in the community. How does that work? Language researcher Limor Raviv joins Daniel, Ben, and Hedvig on this episode of Talk the Talk.
When homosexuality was illegal, a secret language brought people together. In 1960s England, Polari was a creative blend of Italian, Romani, rhyming slang, and backslang, used among the LGBT community. It could be used to communicate, or to identify someone as a member of the group. Now Polari has been lost, even as some of its words have crossed over into mainstream English. We're talking to Professor Paul Baker about this lost language on this episode of Talk the Talk.
373: Mailbag of Processes

373: Mailbag of Processes

2019-08-0101:07:02

We're opening up the Mailbag for another episode. Are sneezes written the same way everywhere? Do all languages have rhyming name games? Can all languages do all the things? Why does "this and that" sound normal, but "that and this" sounds weird? Why are people saying "process-eez"? And what's with "yeah nah"? All these and more on this episode of Talk the Talk.
The rules are changing. Here's the manual. Gretchen McCulloch's book Because Internet is a look at how people use language on the net to communicate and to show identity. How do people laugh online? How is emoji like gesture? It's a deep dive into internet language on this episode of Talk the Talk.
Take a tornado. Add some sharks. You've got a sharknado. But it's not just sharks that can leap out of their normal context. It looks like "-nado" is jumping free and becoming a combining form — a part of a word that is becoming its own productive morpheme, as in "firenado". What others are there? We'll find out on this episode of Talk the Talk.
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Comments (3)

Stan Mulik

Instead of 'pensar en la muerte de la becerra', in Mexico I've heard 'pensar en la inmortalidad del cangrejo', as in, to think about the immorality of the crab.

Nov 14th
Reply

난다

I would love to see the older episodes here too!

Sep 3rd
Reply

Jim123bcb HD

I love this show, thanks for making it every week

Jul 8th
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